Vandalism at Dana causes concerns for those living on campus

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A recent break-in at the former Dana College campus has some concerned for those youth living on campus as part of the Angels Share program.

Blair police received a report of trespassing and vandalism in Mickelsen and Blair halls on April 19. A person driving by witnessed several people in the entry way of the buildings.

The witness saw another person come running out of the building and tried to stop them as they got into their car, but they drove on the grass to avoid them.

Capt. Travis Lyon said officers responded, but the suspects had left before they arrived. The witness provided a description of the vehicle and a license plate number.

A large picture window was broken and a fire extinguisher was discharged inside Mickelsen Hall.

Lyon said officers later cited several Blair juveniles.

Bob Coffey, president of the Dana College Foundation and member of Christ Lutheran Church, both of which are located on campus, said the continued vandalism is concerning given the youth who are now living on campus.

“Destruction on this campus is just disgusting to alumni and myself. We've tried really hard to patrol and keep an eye on it,” he said. “But second, and maybe more important, is that these kids are here because it's supposed to be a safe place for them. Then to have vandalism and breaking and entering going on right across the street, that doesn't create a safe feeling environment for them.”

The campus is marked against trespassers. Security cameras are also in place on campus.

Angels Share is linking housing with jobs, life skills, mentoring and vocational training to put youth aging out of foster care on a path to self-sufficiency.

Mickelsen and Blair halls are scheduled to be renovated as part of an $11.6 million plan to turn the buildings into 60 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments for at-risk youth and low-income elderly.

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